MLB rumors: Mets interested in Carlos Correa; Dansby Swanson market includes Cubs, Giants, Dodgers

Spring training camps open in roughly two months and 21 of our top 50 free agents remain unsigned, including three of the top nine. Don’t worry, those guys will sign soon enough. Here are Tuesday’s hot stove rumors.

Mets interested in Correa

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The New York Mets under owner Steve Cohen have been highly aggressive again this offseason, as they’ve inked the likes of Justin Verlander and Brandon Nimmo, among other free-agent additions. Maybe, though, Cohen and the Mets aren’t done grabbing headlines this offseason. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Mets have some interest in All-Star shortstop Carlos Correa, who became a free agent after he opted out of his contract with the Twins. Presumably, Correa would shift to third base in deference to current Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor. Whatever the specifics, consider the Mets a surprise entrant into the Correa fray.

Needless to say, this would be a needle-moving addition by the Mets (or any other team). Correa, who’s still just 28 years of age, is one of the most coveted free agents available this offseason. He’s coming off an excellent 2022 season with the Twins in which he slashed .291/.366/.467 (140 OPS+) with 22 home runs in 136 games – all while playing capable defense at the critical position of shortstop. For his career, Correa owns an OPS+ of 129 across parts of eight MLB seasons, and over that span he’s averaged 28 home runs and 34 doubles per 162 games played. Along the way, he’s made two All-Star teams and won a Gold Glove. Coming into the offseason, we ranked Correa as the No. 3 free agents available.

The Mets are already running a luxury-tax payroll of around $350 million for 2023, but Cohen seems to care less about that than he does, you know, fielding the best team possible.

Swanson’s market beginning to heat up

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The market for free agent shortstop Dansby Swanson is beginning to heat up, according to Bally Sports. It’s unclear whether a deal is imminent, however. the braveCubs, Dodgers, Giants, Red Sox, and Twins are all said to be in the mix. With Xander Bogaerts and Trea Turner signed, Swanson and Carlos Correa are far and away the two best available free agent shortstops.

Similar to Freddie Freeman last year, a return to the Braves felt inevitable for Swanson coming into the offseason, but the two sides reportedly have not spoken much the last few weeks. The longer he sits in free agency, the greater the chances he leaves. The Braves are grooming young Vaughn Grissom to take over at short, though his defense is not highly regarded, and they may have to go outside the organization for shortstop help should Swanson sign elsewhere.

meads listening on Carrasco

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After signing Justin Verlander, José Quintana, and Kodai Senga within the last 10 days, the Mets are now listening to offers for veteran righty Carlos Carrasco, reports the New York Post. They are not looking to shed payroll — FanGraphs estimates New York’s 2023 competitive balance tax payroll at $349.6 million — but rather seeing whether there’s a baseball trade that makes sense, particularly with the free agent starting pitching market beginning to thin out.

As things stand Carrasco is set to join Quintana, Senga, Verlander, and Max Scherzer in the rotation. Tylor Megill and David Peterson would either shift to the bullpen or go to Triple-A as rotation depth. The Mets figure to be done with the heaviest lifting of their offseason, though they still need a center field-capable backup outfielder and bullpen help, plus general depth. the dodgers, Orioles, Red Soxand twins stand out as potential trade partners for Carrasco, though that is just my speculation.

AstrosD-Backs have talked Varsho

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The Astros and Diamondbacks have discussed a potential Daulton Varsho trade, reports USA Todayalthough no deal is imminent. The D-Backs are overloaded with MLB-ready or near-MLB-ready left-handed hitting outfielders and figure to move one or two this offseason to address needs elsewhere on their roster, specifically pitching and a righty bat on the left side of the infield.

Varsho is a unique player who can catch and also play center field, two positions of need for Houston. He also swatted 27 home runs in 2022, and a guy who can provide that much offense while playing two up the middle positions (as well as right field) is incredibly valuable. Arizona has reportedly set a high asking price for Varsho, who is only 26 and will remain under team control through 2026, and understandably so.

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The Guardians have signed free agent catcher Mike Zunino to a one-year contract worth $6 million, reports The Athletic other FanSided. Zunino had season-ending thoracic outlet syndrome surgery in July. Cleveland was reportedly in the mix for Sean Murphy before he was traded to the Braves on Monday. Top catching prospect Bo Naylor made his MLB debut in 2022, though he’s only played 66 career games in Triple-A, so Zunino allows the Guardians to let Naylor continue to develop at his own pace.

Our RJ Anderson noted Zunino’s power and defense remain strong selling points, though his high strikeout ways don’t really jibe with the sport’s most contact happy team. That said, quality catching is very hard to find, so you take the bad with the good. In related news, the Blue Jays may be running out of potential trade partners for Danny Jansen. the cubsdiamond backs, Raysand Red Sox could use catching help, though always bet against intradivision trades.

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The Rockies have signed righty reliever Pierce Johnson to a one-year deal worth $5 million, according to the New York Post. Our RJ Anderson identified Johnson as a potential value signing Thanks to his mid-90s fastball and big-breaking curveball. Johnson, 31, grew up in Denver, so signing with the Rockies is a homecoming for him. He spent the last three seasons with the Padres after reviving his career with the Hanshin Tigers in Japan in 2019.

Giants sign stripling

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The Giants have signed the right to Ross Stripling to a two-year, $25 million contract. He and Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi know each other from their days with the Dodgers. On paper, the Giants have six starters for five rotation spots (Stripling, Alex Cobb, Anthony DeSclafani, Sean Manaea, Logan Webb, Alex Wood), though Stripling has plenty of bullpen experience and DeSclafani is coming off ankle surgery. It’s unlikely the Stripling signing takes San Francisco out of the Carlos Rodón market.

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